With temperatures (finally) dropping, autumn has officially arrived, and that means winter is just around the corner.
But before you rush to the store for a new winter coat, you might want to check this year's winter forecast.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just issued its "Winter Outlook," predicting the weather coast to coast for the coldest months of the year.
But if you were dreaming of a white Christmas, you may not like what they have to say.
A Warm And Wet Winter
In their early forecast for December through February, NOAA predicts above average temperatures for most of the country, and there are no regions predicted to have below average temperatures.
The agency expects a mild winter for most of the country, with warmer weather to the Northwest and above-average rainfall for the south, especially through the Atlantic Coast and interior.
Those warm and wet predictions also apply to Alaska and Hawaii.
While forecasters see a wet winter in store for the South, predictions for precipitation are below-average for the rest of the country, meaning we'll probably see less snow this year.
In fact drought conditions are predicted for the Pacific Coast and Northwest this season.
The reason for this predicted warm and wet weather is a "weak" El Nino weather pattern, caused by warm ocean currents that bring heat and rain to the United States.
But since the heat of this year's El Nino is less intense, the agency says that other weather patterns could still bring snow or cold temperatures.
As NOAA points out, "warmer-than-average" does not mean there will be no heavy snowstorms or cold snaps this year.
There's also a chance that snow could arrive at the tail end of winter, like it did in March of 2018 when Nor'easters brought true winter weather to the East.
More Winter Predictions
Surprisingly (or not, depending on how much faith you put in almanacs) this year's predictions from NOAA actually match up nicely with The Old Farmer's Almanac's 2018/2019 winter forecast.
While the almanac anticipated "above-normal temperatures almost everywhere in the United States," they had a different guess about which parts of the country would be rainy.
It's true that the Southwest may get snow, according to NOAA, but the almanac also predicted dry weather for the Florida coast and rain the Northeast, while the weather agency has it flipped.
Still, the almanac also guessed correctly that "a weak El Nino" would be the cause of this year's warmer weather.
Really, it's not much of a surprise that the almanac was onto something this year.
While the book supposedly uses a secret formula developed in the 18th century to predict the weather, its writers also admit to relying on modern techniques.
Along with "astronomical cycles" and "solar activity," the almanac takes NOAA's own temperature average data into account when making their predictions.
As we said, these predictions are not set in stone, and changing weather patterns could seriously mix up the map between now and December.
But if the prediction of a warm and wet winter holds up, would you be happy? I actually like having some snow on the ground, especially around Christmas time.